In another epic morning shift, María Pérez and Álvaro Martín earned a privileged position in the history of athletics by reigning in the 35-kilometre walk and hang his second gold at the Budapest World Championships after his victory last weekend in the 20 km. You have to take off your hat to the man from Extremadura (no walker had achieved this milestone in a World Cup) and to the woman from Granada, who overcame a serious muscular problem to once again show that she is the best.
With this double medal, Spain stands out again in the second position of the medal table with four golds for the two with which Great Britain had surpassed them on Wednesday night with the victory of Josh Kerr against Jakob Ingebrigtsen in the 1,500 meters. Is anyone not willing to defend the march? It would be like not defending soccer in Brazil or biathlon in Norway.
The fact is that since last weekend there has been no march and since those two gold medals by Álvaro Martín and María Pérez the baggage of the Spanish team is reduced to sixth place for Mario García Romo in 1,500 meters and sixth place for Fátima Diamé and eighth place for Tessy Ebosele in the long jump.
In principle, the man from Extremadura had recovered quite well from Saturday’s effort in the 20 km walk that opened the World Championships, while the grenadine arrived between cotton wool after a muscular problem that he suffered on Sunday in the final stretch of the test and that has put his participation at great risk this Thursday. However, a miracle has taken place between the winning character of Jacinto Garzón’s disciple and the tremendous work of the medical services and the physios and recuperators of the RFEA.
The exit was simultaneous in the Square of the Heroes of Budapest (Hosok Tere). In the females it did not take long for a leading septet to be formed with all the favorites including María Pérez. They were the champion last year Kimberly García León (Peruvian), the Greek European champion Antigoni Ntrimspioti, the Polish Katarzyna Zdzieblo (silver in the past World Cups) and the Chinese Shijie Queyang (bronze in 2022), who took down the Ukrainian Sydorchuk, to the Japanese Sonora and the Brazilian Lira passing through the 10th (46:44). Behind were the other two Spaniards, Raquel González and the newcomer Cristina Montesinos.
In the men’s event, the main group was much larger, with Álvaro Martín (world gold in 20 km in Budapest) and Miguel Ángel López (current European champion of 35) together with the Swede Perseus Karlstrom (silver last Saturday), the German Linke , the Japanese Noda or the Italian Massimo Stano (Olympic champion of 20 km), while Marc Tur was further behind (fourth in 50 km at the Tokyo Games). They all reached km 10 together (41:44), but the race began to change when the Frenchman Aurélien Quinion left with force to lead the group by 12 seconds at 15 (1h:02.21) and at 29 at 20 (1h:23.08).
Continuing with the simultaneous chronicle, Zdzieblo took a three-second lead at minute 19 and made María Pérez react, who took first and took down all her rivals except the most difficult, Kimberly García to pass 20 in 1:32.41. Closer to the finish line, Quinion kept slipping away but the threat of the two warnings began to hang over his lead, which reached 37 seconds at minute 23 and had already been reduced to 31 seconds at minute 26 with Álvaro Martín, but with Miguel Ángel López already off the hook for more than a minute.
Imperial, María Pérez showed off despite the latent danger of her muscular problem and with 10 km to go (1:54.42) she already leads García León by 24 with Cristina Montesinos eighth and Raquel González 14th. No notices, The woman from Granada was in a position to match the milestone of the Peruvianwhen the golds were hung in Eugene in 20 and 35 km.
While María Pérez already had more than a minute of rent and even encouraged Álvaro Martín when they crossed paths, the man from Lleren escaped to be immediately caught by the Japanese Kawano and the Ecuadorian Pintado three km from the end (2h:12.34). The Asian was left before the penultimate step by the finish line and Martín shot knowing that the South American had two warnings. Pintado’s gesture said it all. The champion of 20 was also heading for gold in 35.
So it was. What a party of Spanish athletics! Álvaro Martín achieved victory with 2h:24.30 (Spanish record) despite the final push from Pintado (2h:24.34) and just under a quarter of an hour later he was emulated by María Pérez (2h:38.40), completely alone. Cristina Montesinos finished fifth. Fourth gold for Spain and all of them on the march! Historic Extremadura and Andalusia! Long live the athletic march despite who weighs!